Pope Francis has named two local priests, Father Gerard W. Battersby and Father Robert J. Fisher, to be auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Detroit. Bishops-designate Battersby and Fisher will be ordained as the archdiocese’s 29th and 30th auxiliary bishops, respectively, on January 25, 2017, at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit. Auxiliary bishops aid the archbishop in the pastoral care of the archdiocese.
“All of us in the Archdiocese of Detroit are deeply grateful that Pope Francis has named Father Battersby and Father Fisher, two well-loved and respected priests in our archdiocese, to be auxiliary bishops in our local church,” said Archbishop Allen Vigneron, the Archbishop of Detroit. “Just days ago we celebrated Synod ‘16 to move the whole Catholic community in Southeast Michigan forward in our efforts to Unleash the Gospel. Both of these new bishops bring a rich set of gifts and talents to the roles they will play in leading our community in our mission to share the Good News of Jesus.”
Bishop-designate Gerard W. Battersby: He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Detroit on May 30, 1998. He has served at St. Thecla Parish in Clinton Township and at St. Gerard, Immaculate Heart of Mary and Presentation-Our Lady of Victory parishes in Detroit. He was made director of graduate seminarians at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in 2007 before being assigned to graduate studies at the University of St. Thomas in Rome. Since 2011, he has been serving as vice-rector and dean of seminarian formation at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. He also has been pastor of St. Mary of Redford Parish in Detroit since October 2015.
“I would like to thank God and Pope Francis for this inestimable blessing,” Bishop-designate Battersby said. “It is with joy and confidence in Jesus Christ that I accepted the Holy Father’s invitation to be a co-worker of his in the apostolic ministry. I would also like to thank Archbishop Allen Vigneron, who has been truly a good shepherd and a sterling exemplar to me.”
Bishop-designate Robert J. Fisher: He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Detroit on June 27, 1992. Following his ordination he served at Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish in Grosse Pointe Woods, as director of priestly vocations for the archdiocese, at St. Angela Parish in Roseville and at St. Lawrence Parish in Utica. He has been rector of the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak since March 2014.
“I am humbled by the Holy Father’s call to serve as an auxiliary bishop,” said Bishop-designate Fisher. “I am grateful for Archbishop Vigneron’s guidance, direction and fraternal support. With the prayers of the community, I will direct all my energy toward sharing Christ in and through the Church.”
In the Detroit Archdiocese, Bishops-designate Battersby and Fisher join Auxiliary Bishops Donald Hanchon and Arturo Cepeda, and retired Auxiliary Bishops Francis Reiss and Thomas Gumbleton. Archbishop Allen Vigneron serves as chief shepherd for the 1.3 million Catholics who reside in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Lapeer and St. Clair counties.